GYMN-L Digest - 13 Jun 1995 to 14 Jun 1995

There are 7 messages totalling 687 lines in this issue.

Topics of the day:

  1. What's Wrong with Women's Gymnastics? (by Dr. Bill Sands)
  2. McNamara's age (was: Re: "little girls...")
  3. Dmitri Bilozerchev
  4. Mary Lou's show
  5. "Little Girls..." in the S.F. Chronicle
  6. Training for adult gymnasts (2)


Date:    Tue, 13 Jun 1995 21:29:37 -0600
From:    ***@RMII.COM
Subject: What's Wrong with Women's Gymnastics? (by Dr. Bill Sands)

The following article comes to Gymn courtesy of USA Gymnastics,
particularly Steve Whitlock, USAGO! Sysop (and Director of Educational
Services and Safety for USA Gymnastics).  This article is a "reprint"
of a recent _Technique_ article.


                    Wrong with Women's Gymnastics?

Wm A. Sands, Ph.D.  Associate Professor, Department of Exercise and
Sport Science University of Utah

The freedom of the press works in such a way that there is
not much freedom from it.
-- Princess Grace of Monaco (1928-1982)

Generally speaking, the Press lives on disaster.
-- Clement Attlee (1883-1967), British Labour Politician,
Prime Minister

If you guys could get just one percent of the stories
-- John McEnroe (1959-p), American tennis player to the
Press at Wimbledon, 1985

The most important service rendered by the press and the
magazines is that of educating people to approach printed
matter with distrust.
-- Samuel Butler (1835-1902), English author

It isn't enough for a promotion to be entertaining, or
even amusing: it must create conversation.
-- Bill Veeck, 1965

All the news that's fit to print
-- Motto of the New York Times

I buy paper at so much a pound; I put amount of ink on
it, and I resell it at a higher price.
-- Name withheld, vice-president of a major publishing
house, 1966

Keep it short
-- Standard instruction to reporters

A journalist cannot: 1. Predict what will happen. 2. Prove
"beyond a reasonable doubt" most of propositions presented
in his report. 3. Produce a "complete" account of
anything. 4. Probe a complex subject, situation, or
personality "in depth." 5. Investigate a crime (or
anything else).
-- Leonard Koppett, Sports Illusion Sports
Reality. 1994. 2nd ed. University of Illinois Press, 131.

Recent years have focused considerable scrutiny on American
gymnastics, particularly women's gymnastics. The tragic death of
Christy Henrich and allegations of various kinds of abuse of child
gymnasts has focused media attention on a sport that stands vulnerable
and unprepared for such criticism.  The response of gymnastics coaches
and administrators has been defensive and virulent. Those intimately
involved in gymnastics believe these accusations are basically
exaggerated and without foundation. I also find myself concerned.  As
a parent, scientist, former coach and gymnast, I have been involved in
gymnastics for well over 20 years at virtually every level. As a
serious skeptic, I highly prize critical thinking and rational
approaches to all circumstances that are incompletely or inaccurately
understood. Gymnastics, particularly women's gymnastics, is poorly
understood by the media and the general public who are accustomed to
team sports and male dominated athletics. Sadly, gymnastics has been
place in a position of wanting to "prove itself innocent" due to the
accusations that seem to repeatedly find their way into the popular
press. Of course, proving oneself innocent is a backward way of
looking at any kind of justice.

Let me begin with some underlying assumptions that will permeate the
following thoughts. First, I believe the media has the right to
print/present what is accurate and relevant. It is vitally important
that all relevant aspects of a story, and words of dissent and
disagreement be heard. The background noise of dissent and
disagreement is fundamental to the functioning of a healthy
democracy. At times the dissent can grow to proportions that cannot be
ignored and real change occurs, most frequently for the good. However,
as vanguards of information for public consumption it is important
that the media report accurately and factually.  Given the current
power of the media to shape public opinion, and as one of the only
sources of information that the lay public may consult, what is
presented should be carefully considered with every effort to present
all sides. As I was told by a journalist for whom I have the highest
respect, it is the job of the media to report, not to promote. Sadly,
I believe this has been largely ignored in some circumstances,
although I must acknowledge this may not have been intentional.

Second, most people in the gymnastics community enjoy being "covered"
by the media and historically reacted harshly when the media seemingly
ignored the hard work and accomplishments of those in the
community. Gymnastics as a top-draw in the media has been a relatively
recent phenomenon to those of us who have been around for more than a
few years. The "spotlight" of media attention tends to shine on
everything, sometimes discriminating only those things deemed to be
"newsworthy." The gymnastics community has taken considerable offense
at some of the coverage of gymnastics when the coverage portrays an
isolated incident that speaks poorly of the sport. As I have read the
various comments of people on the Internet regarding gymnastics
coverage, some members of the community also seem singularly selfish
with regard to failing to acknowledge the role of the media in helping
to make gymnastics a household word. It is important to remember that
the job of the media is to report, not to promote. Although we may not
like to see an injury sequence played numerous times, it is somewhat
Byzantine to think that this will be ignored by a news-hungry and
sometimes scandal-hungry media and society. One need only witness the
continual attempts at scandal charges facing those in public office to
see my point. In short, gymnastics cannot expect to have their cake
and eat it too. When a newsworthy event happens, it is the obligation
of the media to cover it. The fact that the media was present to
capture an injury sequence indicates that gymnastics has grown-up
considerably from the years of the weird characters who were
passionately involved in the sport and participated without any
consideration for media attention--because there wasn't any.

Third, in the one or two minute segments that make up common
television, and the severe space requirements in modern newspapers, it
will be very difficult to show gymnastics in an accurate and relevant
fashion. Gymnastics is just too complicated. It defies simple
explanations and summaries in one or two quotations. Selective
quotations of any individual can result in making a case for almost
anything one might wish. Removal of quotations from the context in
which they were offered can further misrepresent the intent of those
words.  Disregarding the stated caveats surrounding one's statements
may also lead to misrepresentations. Constantly returning to interview
the same vocal, visible, and disgruntled people and their views can
present a biased idea of what really exists. Failure to investigate
beyond opinions carries further potential for misrepresentation of
what exists because the opinions sought may not be the most
informed. Although anyone is entitled to his or her opinion, no one is
entitled to his or her own facts. An attack which consists largely of
condemnation by example opinion does little to uncover much about
anything other than a highly specific situation or person's opinion.

Fourth, gymnastics is level specific. In other words, the nature of
gymnastics training and performance is quite different depending on
what level of athlete you are talking about. Interestingly, there is
almost no criticism (or coverage) of gymnastics when one is talking
about the levels from 1-10 in the Junior Olympic Program. Almost all
of the harsh criticism of gymnastics has been focused on those very
few athletes who are at the very top of the sport--almost entirely at
elite level gymnastics. This appears at least logical simply because
these are the people who gain access to the media. The elite program
is where the most is at stake, the most critical decisions are made,
and where the most visible part of women's gymnastics is found. How
many kids are we talking about? In any given year, the number of
gymnasts who qualify for "elite" status is less than three
hundred. From experience, I might argue that the gymnasts who actually
get access to the media on a regular basis number less than
thirty. Unlike some other sports and contrary to the writings of some
authors, gymnastics stipulates by rule who attains the title of
"elite." The total number of female gymnasts varies from year to year,
but a recent Board of Directors Report for USA Gymnastics put the
athlete membership at approximately 45,000. This makes the population
of gymnasts at the very top range from approximately 0.07% to
0.7%. These figures should indicate that the gymnasts who make it to
the very top are a very small minority indeed, correspondingly
special, and unique. Moreover, it should seem apparent to any thinking
person that condemning the activities of the vast majority of athletes
by the actions of a few is ludicrous. Moreover, even among these high
level few, the picture of gymnastics is quite good. A recent survey
conducted by an honor's student and myself, of former and current
elite and level 10/class I gymnasts and their mothers showed that
approximately 92 percent of these athletes were satisfied with their
gymnastics participation, and that approximately 85 percent of the
mothers felt likewise. The survey involved 87 mother-daughter
pairs. Sadly, this information does not appear in any of the media
reports I have seen.

So, for the record, let's take a look at women's gymnastics and see
what is known, unknown, fact, and opinion. Moreover, let's try to take
a question and answer approach to help keep the ideas somewhat

             Is gymnastics a veiled form of child abuse?

Some athletes and parents have been extremely critical about their
experience in gymnastics and have demonstrated extraordinary
bitterness in the media. This bitterness should not be ignored and
steps should always be taken to ensure any injustices orin equities
are investigated and rectified if possible.

One of the basic issues involved in child abuse is that the child is
coerced into the situation. Although victimization of children is a
very complex issue, and I do not want to reduce its seriousness in any
way; one cannot escape the basic issue that gymnasts are free to join
and leave gymnastics clubs at the gymnast's and/or parent's
discretion. No one is conscripted into gymnastics training and
performance. Gymnasts pay for the privilege of participating in
gymnastics training; they are not paid by the coach and therefore
"owe" or are "owned" by the coach. One of the most important issues in
women's gymnastics is that the vast majority of training occurs in
privately owned businesses I will call private clubs or gymnastics
clubs. As with any private business, the patrons are free to frequent
the business or to "vote with their feet" and go elsewhere. That being
said, again I do not mean to belittle the issues of child abuse
because they are complex. However, the parent of the gymnast is free
to take the child elsewhere or to cease gymnastics training
altogether. Certainly, this makes the "victimization" issue
substantively different from typical child abuse settings.

It has been said that gymnastics training and performance at the top
leads to a kind of seductive relationship where people get "caught up"
in the fame, media attention, and so forth. One might infer that this
"seduction" is the reason for the victimization of children and their
parents. However, I do not find any easy answer to helping people
avoid such a situation given the numerous examples of fame and power
enticing and overwhelming people of unquestionable moral character in
many areas outside of gymnastics. One need only look at show business
and politics to see what can happen to people when public interest is
suddenly showered on them. Education may help, but it seems
extraordinarily difficult to identify and warn people of impending
problems with gymnastics fame when this was often what they sought in
the first place (i.e., not the problems, but the fame). I am not sure
that anyone would like the implied idea they cannot handle fame
without outside help.

Finally, if gymnastics is a form of child abuse then why have several
athletes returned for a "comeback" following retirement? These retired
athletes could easily walk away from gymnastics with few or no regrets
often having been at the pinnacle of their sport, and some at the most
demanding training centers in the world. Why do gymnastics memberships
continue to increase?

If child abuse was inherent, you would think that parents and gymnasts
would see it, identify it, and withdraw. If gymnastics is child abuse,
then the athlete's reported 92% level of satisfaction with their
careers (as mentioned above) should be unlikely.

               Does gymnastics cause eating disorders?

Currently, no one knows the cause or causes of eating disorders. The
present state of knowledge is similar to that of the early AIDS crisis
where cofactors surrounding the incidence of the disorder are known,
such as: compulsive behavior, perfectionist tendencies, gross
disturbances in eating behaviors, and so forth, but the causative
agent(s) are not known. Based on the constellation of cofactors it
would appear that gymnastics is a fertile ground for the development
of eating disorders, but a causative link has not been established. As
a scientist I cannot emphasize this enough. Scientists are taught in
their earliest research design and statistics classes that correlation
does not mean causation. For example, there is a very high
relationship between the number of priests in a city and the number of
prostitutes. Does this mean that priests cause prostitution? Of course
not, there is another variable which is the size of the urban area
that links the two. Obviously, urban areas have more priests and more
prostitutes--one does not cause the other. Early on, the AIDS epidemic
was largely confined to a group of homosexual males who also abused
drugs. At first, the prevailing thought was that AIDS was a
"lifestyle" issue and the product of an alternative lifestyle. We now
know that AIDS is caused by the human-immunodeficiency- virus and not
by lifestyle. Ulcers were thought to be caused by lifestyle issues
also. Having had an ulcer, I was told to relax more, that I was too
uptight, and that I should learn to control my anger and
frustration. In other words, I had a character flaw. Interestingly, an
Australian found that the majority of ulcers are caused by a
bacteria. Taking antibiotics can cure some ulcers, and antibiotics
accidentally cured mine. Some forms of obesity have faced similar
indictments. I have no idea if eating disorders are caused by a
pathogen or genetic predisposition, (although as I write this a recent
edition of American Scientist carries a summary of work done showing a
virus linked to mood disorders in animals), but it would appear to me
that eating disorders should be approached more systematically and the
attacks on character and cofactors should be put in proper
perspective. However, one cannot deny that the things that gymnastics
performance prizes are cofactors for eating disorders. It is always
prudent to be extra careful if you are in a high risk group for any
problem. Gymnastics should be especially prudent in prevention eating
disorders because the age of the participants makes them particularly
susceptible, leanness is a prerequisite for accomplished performance
in gymnastics, and treating the disorder once acquired is very
difficult. USA Gymnastics has established a Task Force to focus on the
issues of The Female Athlete Triad-- eating disorders, osteoporosis
(bone loss), and amenorrhea. Interestingly, gymnastics is somewhat
unique in doing this.

However, does gymnastics have a problem with the Female Athlete Triad?
The short answer to this is a qualified yes. Sufficient evidence, both
empirical and anecdotal, exists to indicate that gymnasts are at risk
for Triad disorders.  Interestingly, osteoporosis may be the least
threatening while the gymnast participates in training. However,
little is known about what happens to bone health following retirement
of the female gymnast. Evidence for disordered eating and amenorrhea
is quite plentiful and in dictates that gymnastics training can delay
menarche, stop menstruation, and that more than the "normal" number of
gymnasts demonstrate disordered eating habits. And, I should add that
the "normal" number of people demonstrating disordered eating is far
agreed upon.  Again, this does not indicate that gymnastics is
causative. Many victims of eating disorders are not gymnasts, and
other sports and activities have eating disorder problems also. All of
us in gymnastics should be hyper-sensitive to this area however until
the actual causative factors are found.

                       What about the coaches?

Are gymnastics coaches a bunch of mean-spirited people and should
gymnastics "ban" the ones that step out of line?

Coaches of women's elite gymnastics work in private clubs as employees
or as business owners. These coaches offer their services for a
fee. Most gymnastics coaches will tell you that they do not coach
elite gymnasts for the money. I know of no gymnastics club that exists
and pays its bills from the elite gymnasts. In fact, all private clubs
that I know lose money on their elite athletes. Some private clubs
have made a conscious decision not to have elite gymnasts because of
the financial burden and hassle. The elite gymnast requires an
extraordinary commitment of time and resources. These athletes require
high-priced and highly skilled coaches. The elite gymnast requires
expensive facilities and access to expensive competitions which
usually means traveling a great deal along with the inherent expense
and absence of key employees/personnel. The family expense of
supporting an elite gymnast has been reported amply in the popular
press. What seldom gets reported is that elite gymnastics coaches do
their jobs at a financial loss, and really do it for the benefit of
the kids and to fulfill a need for accomplishment and striving in
themselves and the athletes.

Coaches, first and foremost, are teachers. From my experience the
personalities of coaches run the same range as that of teachers. As
with all forms of teaching, there are issues of style and idiosyncrasy
that strike some people as genius and others as absurdity. As someone
who prepares teachers, I know that personality has an enormous
influence on teacher effectiveness and that some aspects of good
teaching are unteachable. But coaching is more than teaching in a
sense because coaches are much more omnipresent in a child's life than
typical teachers. This carries with it an awesome and disquieting
power, and an equally awesome potential for influencing young
lives. Not all coaches are up to the entire task; while others behave
brilliantly and thrive in the pressure-cooker of elite level
gymnastics. However, none of the coaches that I am familiar are anti-
child in any way, in fact they are among the most zealous proponents
of raising children properly.

Control of coaches has been an issue implied in many media treatments
of gymnastics and by individual coaches themselves. One must carefully
evaluate the opinion of one coach expressed about another
coach. Coaches are by their nature competitive and often do not like
each other very much due to professional jealousies and perceived
unfair/political advantages. It is very difficult to disentangle a
coach's professional jealousies from opinions based on observable and
objective facts. Those of us in gymnastics for a long time know that
the gossip and rumors that surround gymnastics clubs and participants
can range from the merely distorted to the absolutely bizarre. A
saying has even developed regarding the breadth and depth of the
gossip and rumor-mill in gymnastics: "telephone, telegraph,

                          Coaching standards

Can USA Gymnastics sufficiently control the actions of coaches so that
some minimum standard is achieved?

USA Gymnastics has pursued professional certification for some time
and has begun the first steps to implementing such a policy. It is
seldom offered that USAG has banned some coaches from membership in
USAG due to transgressions that could be proven and were clearly
without ethical foundation.  As one might expect, such procedures must
be very carefully undertaken due to their permanence, breadth of
effects, and potential for doing harm. However, it is unrealistic to
think that USAG can act as police or enforcers in the private business
and personal interactions of gymnastics coaches and athletes and/or
parents. Given that gymnastics clubs are private businesses and USAG
is not a law enforcement body, it can only offer guidelines. It is
unfair to hold gymnastics to a standard of administration and
oversight that local police forces cannot even uphold. Police and the
judicial system have been incompletely effective in dealing with
violence in the home, child abuse, child neglect, and so forth. These
agencies have multi-million dollar budgets and much more focused areas
of jurisdiction. USAG has a national focus and a budget that makes the
entire enterprise a hand-to-mouth affair. USAG simply does not have
the resources, the power, or the personnel to police coaches. Given
the complexity of such issues, the difficulty in getting to the root
causes, and the nature of a free society, I would also argue that
gymnastics can only reprimand those coaches who have been charged with
bonafide crimes. Moreover, I think it would be very chilling for USAG
to attempt to serve as the enforcers of ethical principles that are
the private affairs of families and coaches. USAG can certainly
educate and provide guidance, but cannot make the step to being a
gymnastics "thought police."

               Do gymnasts at the top suffer the most?

Apparently, yes. Particularly with regard to physical injury, those
gymnasts at the top of the sport appear to suffer the largest number
and severity of injuries.  Understand from the outset that there are
some serious technical issues in the presentation and interpretation
of injury incidence information. It is very difficult to interpret
much of the published injury information because of differing
definitions of injury, whether or not the injuries are presented per
participant and per exposure, the stability ability of the data due to
short study periods, and so forth.

The incidence of injuries appears to be related to level of
performance along with other factors. Of course, anyone in gymnastics
for any length of time might speculate the causal links. Gymnasts at
the top are doing the most difficult skills and have the greatest
exposure to injury. The most difficult skills often have the smallest
margin for error and thus expose the gymnast to increased risk of
injury.  Gymnasts at the highest levels also tend to train the largest
number of skills, thus increasing the exposure to being
injured. Previous research has shown that gymnasts at the elite and
international level perform 220,000 to 400,000 elements per year,
corresponding to 700 to 1,300 elements per day. This is certainly a
large workload. A recent review by Caine and colleagues (in press) has
offered the most in-depth study of injury epidemiology in gymnastics
to date and offers some useful but well-known means of preventing
injuries. However, one must be careful to avoid jumping to seemingly
logical conclusions without sufficient information for cause and
effect linkages. On the other hand, one should note that smoke from
the house is sufficient evidence that a problem exists and one need
not wait until flames are visible to call the fire department, thus
confirming cause and effect. As with eating disorders, gymnastics
should, and does, pay significant attention to the issue of
injury. Considerable conference time and journal space is occupied in
recognizing, preventing, and dealing with injury. A task force was
designated and charged with investigating the round off entry vaults
following a catastrophic injury. This further indicates the conscience
of gymnastics in dealing with problems it encounters.

Gymnastics must exercise care with regard to the "image" that is
projected.  Gymnastics often promotes risk as it relates to spectacle,
but denies that same risk when it relates to injury. Again, the idea
of eating one's cake while having it is apparent. However, I believe
that gymnastics is much safer now than it has ever been in the
past. The increase in safety has been largely due to enhanced training
and communication among coaches, and the considered use of safety
equipment. Spring floors, fiberglass rails, padded balance beams,
thicker mats, specialized hand grips, and foam pits all have increased
the safety of gymnastics markedly. I vividly recall the days when a
gymnast went through the low bar (when low bars were made of wood)
during a wrap to hecht dismount, collapsing uneven bars during the
dismount of Tourischeva, stone bruises due to impacts with the balance
beam, sore bumps on the neck and almost universal shin splints prior
to spring floors, and four spotters carrying a mat like a trapeze
artist's net for a double back somersault prior to the use of pits. Of
course, our quest for increasing safety should never
end. Unfortunately, the pace of increasing skill difficulty is very
rapid and thus risky skills continue to find their way into gymnastics
performance on a regular, and at times dizzying pace. This places an
enormous burden on gymnastics because the skills and the inherent
problems of these skills change very quickly. Other sports generally
don't have these problems to the same extent and therefore cannot
serve as easy comparisons nor models for dealing with gymnastics
injury patterns. In short, gymnastics must create its own knowledge
and models with regard to injury. This is a difficult and slow task,
but one that has been ongoing for several decades.

                  Do "excesses" occur in gymnastics?

Of course they do. Sadly, there are times when excesses have occurred
in the name of high performance sport. Gymnastics is by no means alone
in this. Drug abuse, profanity, coaches striking players, violence
among players, violence among fans, temper tantrums, unbridled greed,
gambling, rape, and many other problems have plagued modern sport--and
I was not thinking of gymnastics in this litany. Of course, two wrongs
do not make a right. Gymnastics has recently been assailed by the
tragic death of a young Romanian gymnast, alleged pregnancy doping of
Eastern European gymnasts during the 60s and 70s, and of course the
devastating death of Christy Henrich. The entire American gymnastics
community has reacted with trepidation, heart-felt concern, and out-
right contempt for these excesses. However, these excesses are not the
norm of gymnastics.

Gymnasts and coaches must walk a thin tightwire between under-doing
gymnastics and losing competitively to gymnasts and coaches who work
harder, and over-doing gymnastics and being undone by their own
overzealousness.  Anyone who cares about achieving knows that there is
a rough relationship between how hard you work and the awards you
receive. This is almost axiomatic in American culture. I personally
believe that developing the best character in young people requires
risk, problems, hard work, striving, commitment, determination and so
forth. Moreover, I believe that none of these are obtained easily and
without some pain and frustration. The very qualities that make a
youngster seek to excel in a sport are the same qualities that I
thought we were always trying to encourage in American youth. Now, it
appears that gymnasts have a moving target. They are supposed to
strive to excel, unless someone wants to label them as a victim, in
which case the passion and determination of the gymnast is perverted
into some type of involuntary servitude. I believe such views do an
enormous disservice to all of those gymnasts who are striving day-in
and day-out to become good at something they love. Moreover, I am not
the first to notice that the necessary steps develop talented young
people are largely the same regardless of the particular area of his
or her talent. Sometimes bad judgment prevails and kids are pushed
beyond their capacities for a host of documented reasons involving
unrealistic expectations from parents, coaches, the media, school
mates, friends, family members, and sometimes the athlete herself. As
much as this is important, it is equally difficult to predict when and
to whom this will happen. Some athletes appear to thrive in high
pressure settings, some athletes appear to thrive only up to some
threshold, and some athletes do not appear to thrive in these settings
at all. As you might expect, making such determinations is wrought
with definitional, technical, and practical problems. Guidelines for
coaches in this area have been proposed and more work is being done by
the sport psychology community and specifically sport psychologists in
gymnastics to help athletes, parents, and coaches do a better job of
walking the tightwire.


In closing, I would like to emphasize that these are my opinions alone
and that they are not intended to represent those of USA
Gymnastics. In recent weeks, I believe that my words have been
mis-characterized in the lay press and found it a very disquieting
experience, hence this long document. However, to answer the question
in the title of this document, I believe that women's gymnastics
doesn't have anything wrong with it. There are some unique problems
that are being dealt with as intelligently as possible. No human
enterprise is without problems in varying sizes and arising at various
times. Some of the problems are intricate and difficult; these will be
solved in time and with the help of many people both in and out of the
gymnastics community. Some problems, both now and in the future, may
never be totally reconciled but merely kept in check by the vigilant
efforts of those in the gymnastics community. I am confident that both
the will and the means to keep gymnastics vital and rewarding
currently exists and will always exist. The character of women's
gymnastics is as good as it ever was and continues to get better.

# # #

Reprinted from _Technique_ magazine, an official publication of USA
Gymnastics, with permission from USA Gymnastics.  June 1995.


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 00:29:00 PDT
Subject: McNamara's age (was: Re: "little girls...")

Julianne McNamara was born in October of '65.

Stay cool,

>>Julianne MacNamara was in middle school in 1980, so she was at most 18 in
>the 1984 Olympics.<
>Don't know where this came from (did this get sent to the list by mistake, or
>did I miss a message?), but anyway, I thought she was 19.  Which would make
>her old enough for the '80 Olympic team (18 would make old enough too, but
>only if she turned 19 sometime in '84).


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 11:13:24 +0000
From:    ***@DDS.NL
Subject: Dmitri Bilozerchev

I was watching some pictures of Dmitri Bilozerchev at Internet.
(at adres: )

I asked myself: where does he live and wat is he doing at this moment?

I'm curious, because he stayed at our home (Bilthoven, Holland) for about 5
days in 1988, and after he left, I didn't hear anything about him.

During the 5 day peroid, we had long conversations and late evening, early
moring chess-games.

He was in Holland for a demonstration for a local gymnastics-club. He showed
us a high bar and parallel bar exercise in a way only he could have done.

During that time he lived in Moskou with his wife, a formal ice-skating
champion, and son. He told us that he was lookin at that time his plan of
the future was a private-gymnastic-school.
Did he succeed or...???

Maybe someone can tell me.

Greetings from Holland,

I hope my English is not too bad for reading.


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 16:53:23 -0400
From:    ***@AOL.COM
Subject: Mary Lou's show

Mary Lou Retton will star in "Flip Flop Shop", a new children's show that
will air on PBS beginning in January 1996.  She will lead young children in a
variety of games and exercises.  I had originally thought the project would
be a video, but 26 episodes are planned.

Ann Marie


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 16:44:18 -0700
Subject: "Little Girls..." in the S.F. Chronicle

The front page of today's _San Francisco Chronicle_ Sporting Green
had a picture of a gymnast on it, so I immediately checked it out to
see what The Chron had to say about Budget meet being held in San Jose
this weekend.  The answer: NOTHING!

The photo was to accompany the first of three excerpts from Joan Ryan's
new book, _Little Girls in Pretty Boxes_.  I haven't read the book
(the library ordered it from the slowest supplier in the universe), but
from what I have heard about it (even from Ryan's defenders) it doesn't
sound like much of a piece of journalism  (But then, now that I think of
it, how much of the _Chronicle_ really does qualify as journalism?)
The excerpt is the first part of the Julissa Gomez story.  Tomorrow's
excerpt is "What went wrong."

I wonder if it's just coincidence that the _Chronicle_ picked this week to
help sell Ryan's book.  It seems that if they knew about the meet, they
would be running features on Stanford's Josh Stein and San Jose's Amy
Chow, who are both scheduled to compete.  They could waste column space
on Ryan any time....



Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 19:17:17 -0600
From:    ***@NYX.CS.DU.EDU
Subject: Training for adult gymnasts

      > Looking in from the outside, there doesn't appear to
      > be an infrastructure for elite gymnastics after college.
      > Just out of curiousity, would an independent gym
      > coach a woman after 18?  Is cost a problem here?

 My daughter's team has a 33 year old woman competing as a Level 8.  This
 is her second year at the gym.  I'm not sure what her history is but
 she's married and has a 13 year old son.  She's good enough to compete as a
 Level 8 but I doubt she'll go much further.  I'm just incredibly
 impressed with what she's doing!


Date:    Wed, 14 Jun 1995 18:45:52 -0700
From:    ***@NETCOM.COM
Subject: Re: Training for adult gymnasts

>       > Looking in from the outside, there doesn't appear to
>       > be an infrastructure for elite gymnastics after college.
>       > Just out of curiousity, would an independent gym
>       > coach a woman after 18?  Is cost a problem here?

Forget the flamethrowers !
Somebody just threw lit quarter sticks into the central powder magazine !

This post awoke some VERY painfull wounds....
I see NO interest on the pasrt of USGF or USA GYMN in helping us
geriatric gymnasts.

I see a VERY concerted attitude especially from the USGF that

"Well you are outta college so now you are outta luck!
Now go have kids, stay in the stands, and send us lotsa money.
You want to compete after college ?
Are you outta your mind ?
Now shut up, go away and send us more money!"

I fantasize about the day when several dozen grey haired gymnasts invade
the USGF HQ, terrorize the staff, corner the head of the USGF, and FORCE
her/him/it to FINALLY sanction a masters program in gymnastics.

Nice fantasy, but itll never happen.
Too many nice gymnasts to do something like that.
USGF is too stuck in the mud.
But at least you know what I think about at night...
(Jeff Stryker? Never heard of him!)


End of GYMN-L Digest - 13 Jun 1995 to 14 Jun 1995